With our new group we departed early Sunday on a 4 hour bus journey to Ha Long Bay where we boarded our beautiful Junk boat, which would be our accomodation for the night. Ha Long Bay is a beautiful natural bay made of hundreds of lime stone outcrops and islands. Our journey on the boat would be for 24 hours, sailing out before anchoring for the night in the bay.
The service on the boat was amazing. As soon as we boarded the boat we had lunch given to us. Our other meals were dinner that evening and breakfast and lunch the next day. The food was delicious and plentiful (8 course meals!) and mainly consisted of fresh seafood. Clams, shrimp, crab, fish…you name it, it was served up, mmmmm!
The scenery itself was absolutely beautiful and we were lucky to have a warm sunny day as 2 thirds of the time it rains or clouds over. The sun meant we all sat on the top deck on the sun loungers admiring the scenery as it drifted slowly past.
Our cabins were also gorgeous. Two little beds and a bathroom with power and air con. It was really nice and nothing like we had expected.
In the afternoon we docked on one of the islands where we got to visit a very big cave. Unlike the pitch black ones we ventured into in Vang Vieng this one was a bit more disneyfied with pretty lighting, lots of tourists and even music. It was very nice nonetheless and it was very very big inside! THe outside of the cave also gave spectacular views over the bay.
After the cave we were conviced by the guide to have another go at kayaking. After our last incident on the river I’m not sure why we decided too but we are glad we did as it was amazing. It seemed to be far easier to paddle along the sea water than it was down the slow river. Perhaps it was a different type of kayak, I’m not sure, but it was very enyoyable.
It was us two then Rhonda and Megan in the other kayak and led by one of the boats crew who guided us around. It was so cool! We went through tiny gaps in the rocks and we were taken through a cave in one of the limestone outcrops. On the other side was this big lagoon completely sorrounded by rock. Wow! A secret lagoon only accessible by this cave.
We then paddled to a place where we could watch the sunset. Awesome!
That night we slept really well in our cute cabin.
After breakfast we sailed back to port.
On the way we stopped at Ti Top island. This was the only island we came across where you could ge on and walk around. We climbed the hundreds of stairs to the viewing point at the top before fell running down and jumping into the cold sea for a quick swim.
We had our farewell brunch before our bus ride back to Hanoi. We had just enough tie to walk into town to have some more Fannys ice cream. My Chocolate Ligeoise was out of this world.
In the afternoon we caught the bus to the train station where we boarded our overnight train to Huey. This train was not as good in my opinion as the one in Thailand to Chiang Mai. The cabins had 4 people in each on two bunk beds either side. The beds were a bit small (built for Asian and Heidi sized people) but it was fine and we slept ok. We shared with Paula and Lee both from England, and it was nice to chat with them and get to know them a little better.